New research from Microsoft took a look at how small and midsize businesses are utilizing cloud computing services and found that SMBs are expanding their reach and opportunities in new ways thanks to the cloud. So many more SMBs are adopting cloud technology that paid cloud services are expected to double in five years, while the number of the world's smallest companies using at least one paid cloud service will triple in the next three years.
"Gone are the days of large enterprises holding the keys to enterprise-class IT and services," Microsoft's Vice President of Operator Channels Marco Limena said in a statement. "The cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today's quickly changing business environment, by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority - growing their businesses."
Cloud computing presents an economic advantage to small and midsize businesses by providing cheaper operations and increased access to information from virtually any device. In fact, the research finds 59% of companies currently using cloud services report significant productivity benefits from information technology, compared with just 30% of SMBs not yet using the cloud.
Moreover, despite a dogged state of the economy, 63% of SMBs using cloud services today expect to grow in sales in the next 12 to 18 months while 55% believe technology will power their growth. SMBs worldwide are embracing cloud services to reap those benefits and stay ahead of competitors - 50% of SMBs say cloud computing is going to become more important for their operations, and 58% believe working in the cloud can make companies more competitive.
As more SMBs add more devices to their inventory of business tools, using cloud services presents the best opportunity for those businesses to improve their mobility. Additionally, businesses have less concerns over the security of cloud computing than in previous years as only 20% or so of SMBs think data is less secure on a cloud service than in actual on-site hardware.
It's true - while anybody with a crowbar and a mind for mischief can break into your place of business and steal your computers that have your information, it's kinda hard to pry open a cloud in the same manner.